Politics and Policy:
- US Green Party Press Release: Greens See Hope in Palestinian Nonviolent Protests and Resistance to Israel’s Occupation. But all hopes for peace will be shattered and Palestinian refugees endangered if the U.S. invades Iraq, say Greens
- WASHINGTON, D.C. — Citing reports from the Occupied Palestinian Territories of renewed nonviolent protest and refusal to cooperate with Israel’s curfews, members and candidates of the Green Party of the United States said that the hope for resolution lies in peace talks, diplomatic pressure, and Israel’s withdrawal from the Territories. But Greens also warned that President Bush’s plans to invade Iraq would destabilize the entire region and shatter any such hopes.
“Palestinians in Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarem, Gaza and Bethlehem defied curfews and poured into the streets for protests and candlelight vigils against the latest siege of Arafat’s headquarters,” said Justine McCabe, a Connecticut Green and member of the party’s International Committee. “West Bank schools remain open in defiance of curfews, or operate via e-mail. As in the
movement that ended South African apartheid, this renewed non-violent mass action by Palestinians requires international support
and attention to sustain itself as the political strategy for ending the occupation.” McCabe noted that most Palestinians have long
favored nonviolent protest, ever since the First Intifada of 1987-93.
“If mass civil disobedience by Palestinians and Israeli supporters of human rights for Palestinians is the best hope, the worst hope is
Bush’s intended war on Iraq,” said Joe Fortunato, Green candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District. ” An
invasion by the U.S. would prompt a likely missile assault by Saddam Hussein on Israel, and probably motivate Prime Minister Sharon to carry out his plan of ‘ethnic cleansing’ — driving Palestinians from the West Bank into Jordan, where the government would almost
certainly collapse during a civil war, or even into a ‘newly configured’ Iraq.”
Greens, who last year endorsed the right of Palestinians to return to their homeland, call special attention to the vulnerability of
Palestinian refugees in the regional chaos that would result from the invasion. A coalition of Israeli academics recently issued an
urgent appeal of concern that in the “fog of war” in Iraq, Sharon would exploit the situation to expel Palestinians from their land.
The current Israeli government includes parties that promote “expulsion” and “transfer” of the Palestinian population, especially in the Israeli occupied territories, as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
According to one of the Israeli academics, Professor Jacob Katriel of Haifa University, “In a recent interview in the Israeli daily,
Ha’aretz, Israeli Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon described the Palestinians as ‘a cancerous manifestation’ and equated the military
action in the Occupied Territories with ‘chemotherapy,’ suggesting that ‘more radical treatment’ may be necessary. We call on the
international community… to make it absolutely clear that crimes against humanity will not be tolerated, and to take concrete
measures to prevent such crimes from taking place.”
Greens continue to insist that Israel and the U.S. adhere to international law, as well as the Constitution’s restriction of the role of armed forces to protection of U.S. borders.(One note by JMB: While I 100% agree with the Green Party position of restricting the US military to protecting our own borders, I do not believe there is any clause in the US Constitution would require this. This might be a good policy, but it is not a constitutionally-mandated policy.)
“The Bush Administration insists that Saddam Hussein be overthrown because he refuses to comply with U.N. resolutions and possesses weapons of mass destruction,” said Annie Goeke, co-chair of the party’s International Committee. “But the U.S. has failed to oppose Israel’s disregard of over 65 U.N. Security Council resolutions, including those regarding refugee rights, the illegal occupation of territory acquired by force, the massive invasion of a sovereign nation — Lebanon — and 18 years of military occupation there. Such
blatant hypocrisy is fueling the already intense antipathy toward the U.S. among people throughout the developing world, including the
“We join human rights groups the European Federation of Green Parties, the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights, and U.N.
Secretary General Kofi Annan in their repeated calls for an international protection force for all civilians in the Occupied
Palestinian Territories, ” added Holly Hart, Green candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Iowa and member of People for Justice in
Palestine. “And we encourage Palestinians and Israelis in various peace movements, such as Gush Shalom, Women in Black, Al-Awda, and Courage to Refuse, to maintain pressure on Israel.”